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I.I

DECAY OF THE CALIPHATE          91
succeeded Mansur, suffered a series of vicissitudes, and is
chiefly famous as having been cured by Abu Ali bin Sina,
the great Avicenna. His nobles conspired against him
and invited Boghra Khan,1 who from his capital at
Kashgar ruled over a confederacy of Turkish tribes, to
invade the Samanid kingdom. Boghra Khan captured
Bokhara but died shortly afterwards, and Noh, who had
become a fugitive, returned. His nobles then fled to
Khorasan, where they obtained help from the Daylami
prince, and Noh in despair summoned to his aid
Sabaktagin, who had founded the state of Ghazna at the
expense of the Samanid dynasty. He readily sent a
force which won a decisive victory near Herat, the battle
being chiefly memorable as the first in which his son
Mahmud, the future champion of Islam, fought, winning
thereby as his reward from the grateful Noh the province
of Khorasan : other victories were gained at Nishapur
and at Tus.
Mansur IL, the son and successor of Noh, was a poet
of whose compositions fragments have been preserved.
In reply to his companions who asked the distracted
monarch why he never put off armour, he explained :
They ask me why fine robes I do not wear,
Nor covet stately tent with carpets rare.
'Midst clash of arms, what boots the minstrel's power ?
'Midst rush of steeds, what place for rose-girt bower ?
Nor wine nor sweet-lipped Saki aught avail
Where blood is splattered o'er the coats of mail.
Arms, horse for me, banquet and bower enow,
Tulip and lily mine the dart and bow.2
This martial sovereign did not live to see the extinction
of his proud dynasty, but his successor, Abdul Malik, the
last of his line, was seized by Ilak Khan, of the Turkish
dynasty mentioned above, and thrown into prison, where
he died. The capture of Abdul Malik took place in
A.H. 389 (999)5 and this date marks the downfall of the
Samanid dynasty, after a splendid though not unchequered
career of exactly a century and a quarter.
1 The dynasty is termed the Ilak Khans of Turkestan by Stanley Lane-Poole in
his Mohamedan Dynasties, and the Kara-Khanides by Skrine and Ross in The Heart
of Asia.
3 Quoted from Browne, op. cit> p. 409.